DDIY (Don’t DIY)

DDIY (Don’t DIY): When Pinterest Goes Wrong

While we will never advocate for boxed color and the thought of at-home waxing makes us cringe, we do love the idea of bringing the salon or spa home whenever it makes sense. As long as there’s no risk for the kind of long-term negative effects that could ruin your week, month, or year, we say go for it.

The problem is, the Internet these days is fully of seemingly easy, innocent tips and tricks that can have serious repercussions. (We’re looking at you, Pinterest.) Read on to find out what you definitely should not try at home.

Lemon Juice to Lighten

Let’s kick thing off with a chemistry refresher. (Sorry, everyone.) Remember learning about pH? It’s how you measure the acidity or alkalinity of a substance. Well, your hair and skin have a delicate pH balance that must be maintained for optimal health and vitality—and way too many at-home remedies unknowingly disrupt that balance in big ways. The seemingly wholesome lemon juice, often touted as a solution for everything from easy highlights to fading dark spots, can actually do some serious damage, delightful scent aside. Let’s call it the Eddie Haskell of the DIY world.

With a pH of 2, lemon juice is a highly acidic substance. That means that putting it on your skin can cause irritation and redness and disrupt the acid mantle, allowing bacteria into your pores. It’s also damaging for you hair and can wreck positively wreck existing color.

Most horrifying of all, when exposed to sunlight, juices from citrus fruits like lemon and lime can inflict a condition called phytophotodermatitis, or “margarita burn”. Sounds fun, right? Wrong. It’s actually a chemical reaction that varies in severity from rashes to blistering second-degree burns. No thank you.

Apple Cider Vinegar and Baking Soda to Rinse

Most of us have heard of the misleadingly named “No ‘Poo” movement, the proponents of which have done away with shampoo and replaced it with combo of apple cider vinegar and baking soda. We hate to be the bearers of bad news, but these things are much better left in your pantry.

Let’s jump back into chemistry world. (Your 7th grade science teacher was right when he said you’d need this stuff one day.) Baking soda is an alkaline irritant, meaning it strips hair of its natural oils. It also disrupts the pH balance of your hair, leading to damage and brittleness. Apple cider vinegar (ACV) is highly acidic, making it similarly problematic. Perhaps most upsetting of all, it can take gorgeous, richly dark color and make it unappealingly brassy.

Shampoo strips some of your hair’s oils, yes, but it also replenishes them. Choose shampoos with natural oils, like buriti (found in Aveda’s Dry Remedy line) that are specifically chosen for their nourishing properties. 

Baking Soda to Exfoliate

We’re sorry to hate on baking soda so much, since it’s a great, time-tested product with about a million uses. Unfortunately, exfoliating shouldn’t be one of them. Again, the pH level of the stuff makes it problematic when applied to the delicate skin on your face. Manually exfoliating can also cause irritation, redness, and damage when done incorrectly.

You’re much better off choosing a product specifically formulated for use on your face. (Aveda’s Tourmaline Charged Exfoliating Cleanser is a great option with exfoliating jojoba beads AND nourishing mango butter.) And as for those stubborn blackheads? Your best bet is a facial with a professional esthetician, who can properly extract them for you.

The Bottom Line?

Remember that cosmetic chemists are extensively trained to incorporate safe and effective formulations of many ingredients in your beauty products. If it’s not specifically formulated for use on your hair or skin, always ask a hair stylist or esthetician before trying it out. If you’re seeking guidance, you can always post on our Facebook page or give us a ring — we’re more than happy to help.

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